Turbid Mash Lambic-Style Ale (In The Tradition Of Brasserie Cantillon)

Wild Yeast 03Months after we originally intended to, Gregory and I finally brewed our lambic-style ale on 09 February 2015.  We used Jim Liddil’s tek which is a conversion of Brasserie Cantillon’s turbid mash schedule to the homebrew scale.  Since we don’t currently have a barrel with neutral enough character, we opted to add French oak spirals to primary (we boiled the hell out of them beforehand so they wouldn’t overwhelm the beer).

We don’t have a koelschip and we didn’t let the beer spontaneously ferment per se, rather we chilled with a wort chiller as usual and pitched both of the batches of wild yeast that I harvested from my house (see my previous post).  We also overlooked the fact that our homebrew store wouldn’t have raw wheat and, as we were pressed for time, we just settled on regular wheat malt.  Though theoretically this could actually harm our efficiency because the wheat has already been well modified, the real goal here was to conduct the turbid mash, so we went ahead with it and did hit our intended gravity.

We have not yet decided if, when this beer is ready, we will serve it straight, fruit it, or blend it with a younger lambic-style ale to produce a gueuze-style ale; we’ll keep you posted.

Turbid Mash Lambic-Style Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.0
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated SRM: 3.0-7.0
Anticipated IBU: 0-10
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 240 Minutes

Grain

66% – 5.3 Lbs. Belgian 2-Row Pilsner
33% – 2.7 Lbs. Wheat Malt

Hops

3.50 oz. Yakima Valley Hops Aged Lambic Hops (Leaf, 13.0% AA) @ 240 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.

Yeast

Wild yeasts harvested and propagated from home
Bottle dregs from Brouwerij Oud Beersel Oude Geuze

Water Profile

Seattle

Mash Schedule

Jim Liddil’s A Liddil Lambic Lesson

Notes

02.09.15 — Cold crashed and decanted the growlers of wild yeast I propagated morning of brew day

Brewed on 02.09.15 with Gregory

02.09.15 — After a nearly eight hour brew day, chilled wort to 70F and pitched the wild yeast into a carboy with the oak spirals and put in on the brewbelt.

02.13.15 — Signs of fermentation activity

03.25.15 — Transferred off of the oak spirals into secondary fermentor and added the bottle dregs from Brouwerij Oud Beersel Oude Geuze

02.11.16 — Pulled a sample from the carboy and tasted it.  Lots of oak character even though we boiled the spirals for quite a while and changed the water numerous times.  Surprisingly not too much acidity/sourness yet, will probably pitch some extra bottle dregs soon.

Calculated OG: 1.048

Harvesting Wild Yeast

Wild Yeast 01 & 02

About two months ago I began experimenting with harvesting wild yeast from different areas in my house.  Since most of my beers are fermented in the basement where our Westland Distillery whiskey barrel resides (and because we inoculated it with commercial wild yeasts and bottle dregs after our clean stout was finished) I decided to try to catch some yeast from the basement.  The process is rather simple, though unpredictable, and so far I’ve been successful with two separate batches — successful meaning I’ve definitely caught some bugs and there doesn’t appear to be any mold or off flavors present at this point.

Wild Yeast 01After Gregory and I finished sparging for the chanterelle mushroom beer, we had about 64oz of wort left over.  Instead of just dumping the wort, I let it cool to room temperature and put it into a stock pot which I covered with a grain bag and left in my basement over night.  The next morning I funneled the wort into a gallon growler, added an airlock, and waited to see what happened.  In about a week’s time, I noticed that a Brettanomyces pellicle had begun to form.  I waited another week then made up a starter wort and fed the bugs I caught, taking the opportunity to smell the yeast: mango- and pineapple-like tropical fruit notes with some light barnyard funk is what emerged.  I have been monitoring and feeding the batch roughly every two weeks ever since, cold crashing and decanting when necessary, and Gregory and I plan to use it in our turbid mash lambic-style ale which we plan to barrel ferment.  It has been exciting to witness the different phases the yeast has gone through since it’s initial capture: a few weeks after the first feeding, it was offering more standard Belgian yeast notes; now it has become fairly complex with hints of fruit, a more profound funkiness, and light Belgian-like phenolics.

Wild Yeast 02 UpstairsThe second batch is from upstairs in my kitchen.  After we finished sparging for our Baltic porter, we had about 32oz of wort left (prior to the addition of the cold steeped specialty malts which were added at the end of our boil) and I followed the same process as above, keeping it on top of a cabinet for the night.  Once again I definitely caught some bugs, and it is my hope that this batch will be more representative of the wild yeast down here on Alki beach since I do not ferment any beers in my kitchen.  So far this yeast seems milder in intensity with a light fruitiness reminiscent of stone fruit and a very faint funk in the background.  It will be interesting to see how both of these catches mature and change over time.